Makin’ a Hand

by Jake Hershey on December 16, 2012

A buddy bought a book the other day and gave it to me to read before he had a chance to read it.  Pretty good buddy.  It’s called “Lone Cowboy” and it’s the autobiography of Will James.  The book starts out talking about Will’s childhood.  His mom died when he was a baby and his dad died in a horse wreck when he was a toddler.  Will’s dad took his wife’s death hard and went back to riding the rough string and taking on broncs…something he’d promised his wife he’d never do again.  Will describes it like this:

“Fast action and danger made him forget the hurt he packed in his heart.  And fast action and danger is what he went after.  With them big rough horses he’d go and pile his rope on everything that was wild and needed roping, and lots of big stuff that didn’t need roping.  The time and the place he done that never mattered to him, and many a cowboy held his breath at watching the “fool things” he’d do.  He tore the riggin’ out of his saddle twice that year and, by the end of summer, the saddle horn had been jerked off too, but he never bothered having it replaced.  He fixed his own riggin’, tied his rope thru the fork, and went on roping off of the rough ponies just the same.  “And” as the Old-timer said, “The rough string sure had the rough took off of’em that year.””

Pretty cool, huh?  Just when a guy thinks he’s makin’ a hand, ya read something like this that makes ya realize how far you’ve really got to go.

I was reading another book this week that described another person, known as a Christian.  It described a Christian like this:

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.  They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you and not under law.  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.  I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”  (Galatians 5:16-26)

Pretty cool, huh?  Or maybe not.  There are times that my actions look a lot more like the “acts of the sinful nature” than “the fruit of the Spirit”.  Maybe you can relate.

Whether it’s being a cowboy or a Christian, there’s always going to be somebody out there who’s better than you.  But that doesn’t mean you quit.  Will James’ dad was a sure enough top hand.  I think I’d have taken my wood to the saddle shop after the riggin’ tore out the first time and just took the rest of the year off.

Jesus Christ possessed all of the qualities of the “fruit of the Spirit” and never wavered.  Some days I’m doing good to possess a few of them for five minutes.

Life is all about makin’ a hand.  The thing is to keep trying to get better as long as we’re on this side of the dirt.  Remember…you ain’t beat until you quit.

I’ve got some cow work comin’ up, I think I’ll go check my rigging and saddle horn.  God bless you’n yers.


Jake Hershey 12/15/12

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  • Quinton Schmelzenbach “Missionary Cowboy”

    You sure are right, there will always be a better one out there. In the past, I have let that take me down, and say: Well, I’ll never be that good, I better just give up now. Or at best: Ok, that takes hard work and diligence to be that good… I’ll start all that tomorrow.
    Only tomorrow never came. I took me a long time to realize that, but God is teaching me, with great patience.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Quinton Schmelzenbach

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